More than 287,000 people turned out for the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, Co Offaly, and Macra na Feirme was in the thick of the action.

Among the visitors to the Macra stand was President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and one of the highlights for the organisation was the launch of Macra’s Safe Agri Skills card in association with ABP and Skillnets.

Macra is asking members to take the lead on farm safety, and for the first time ever, those working in agriculture will be asked to complete a suite of short training courses.

Modules include tractor safety, livestock handling, manual handling, first aid and health for farming, as well as optional extras like chainsaw use and ATV/quad bike safety.

Safe Agri Skills is the first and only of its kind — a farm safety training course covering all the basics and the major causes of accidents in agriculture.

Speaking at the launch, national president Seán Finan said: “Only in agriculture is something like this seen as revolutionary.

“In any other industry it’s just done, no questions asked. You do not show up to work unless your safety training is up to date.

“We need more education about safety in farming and it’s initiatives like Safe Agri Skills that can provide farmers with that education.”

Seamus Banim of ABP Ireland said they are delighted to stand behind the initiative.

Safe Agri Skills forms one section of the new Master of Agri Skills programme which provides a structured framework within which farmers can undertake continuous professional development.

Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet training courses are part-funded through the national training fund of the Department of Education and Skills. Courses are available nationwide and bookings can be made online at macraskillnet.eventbrite.ie.

Meanwhile, following on from a recent Macra survey which found security was the top concern for young farmers, people are being reminded to sign up to the TheftStop scheme.

The joint initiative by the IFA and An Garda Síochána provides members with a unique security ID. Members can then mark their machinery and equipment with this ID and upload an image of the item to the TheftStop site. 

Marked and branded items are significantly less attractive to criminals to steal as they are more easily recognisable by the public and harder to sell on.

Information on any suspicious activity can be given anonymously to the Crimestoppers confidential telephone service.

Tim Dalton, chairman of Crimestoppers, said: “We provide a fully confidential means for every citizen to report crime, without fear of recrimination. Calls are free and the information is given completely anonymously. The service consistently elicits very valuable information to assist investigations in both rural and urban Ireland.

“As well as enabling members of the public to report crime safely and anonymously, an ongoing task of Crimestoppers is to encourage the spread of information to make the public more aware of steps we can all take to reduce the risk of becoming crime victims in the first place.”

Anyone with information in relation to farm related crime, can contact their local Garda Station or Crimestoppers on 1800 25 00 25.

A call to Crimestoppers is free and anonymous and callers may receive a reward for information.


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